Countless championships across the sports world end with a player thanking God for the win. It’s almost bizarre if it doesn’t happen, but outright testimonials of faith are often few and far between.
Randall Wilburn, whose two passions are sports and spirituality, saw the discrepancy – and an opportunity. To bridge the gap he started an online sportswear design business called Cross Training Sports, which provides athletic wear that allows the faithful to incorporate the two.
“It’s really about training people in the way of the cross,” says Wilburn.
The tagline for Cross Training Sports is “Embrace Your God Given Dopeness.” That “dopeness” is what he says God gave each person that makes him or her special, so the tees say “God Made Me Dope.” Wilburn says this slogan, the most popular, reminds its wearers that God “was having a good day” when he created them.
The biblical principles came easily for Wilburn, but putting them into sportswear took some time. He got some inspiration and advice about how to develop the Cross Training Sports line from his wife Kala Wilburn, who designs of clothing for women. Wilburn is the founder of Vehicle City Fashion Week, where Cross Training and other Flint-based companies showcased Nov. 12-17.
Wilburn started out three years ago by selling styles to parishioners at his church, Foss Avenue Baptist. Members have remained his most loyal customers.
The online business, which lets Wilburn test the market by using a made-to-order business model, has grown to include customers as far away as California and Arizona, where he ships orders. Oscar-nominated actress Angela Bassett was even photographed in the “God Made Me Dope” shirt.
Wilburn went to elementary school with boxer Andre Dirrell, who held the IBF interim super middleweight title from 2017 to 2018 and won a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics. Dirrell saw images of Wilburn’s work on social media and bought some apparel for his family, boosting the Cross Training line’s notoriety.
Wilburn says he demonstrates his faith by supporting his inner circle. Not long ago his friend, Jeffery A. Wilson, was diagnosed with cancer. Wilburn made a special shirt for Wilson that read “Heal Cancer,” with differently shaded letters in the phrase that spelled “He Can.”
Wilburn still wears the design, though Wilson died, and says he frequently gets positive feedback from those who read the words. The shirts are sold on the website with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Jeffery A. Wilson Scholarship fund.
Raised in the city, Wilburn credits growing up in his hometown for his entrepreneurial resilience.
“Being from Flint,” he says, “you learn to never give up.”
For more information visit the Cross Training Sports website. Randall Wilburn will be among the fresh designers whose newest lines will be displayed during Vehicle City Fashion Week’s runway show on Saturday, Nov. 23 at the Sloan Musuem-Courtland Mall location. For tickets or additional details, click here.
Lead photo courtesy of Cross Training Sports